In the modern and global world today, technological advancements entirely changed the picture of the world. Social media is one among the great inventions that provided several advantages to the human beings. Social media is a platform that makes people able to communicate with anyone in the world and share anything they want to share with the world. It makes the people able to make friends across the globe and learn different cultures and societal patterns of different people. The sharing pattern involves the information, knowledge, pictures, videos, personal information, cultural trends and so much more. These all are the traits of social media that are now famous all over the world today. But social media is also targeting different moral, ethical, and societal values of different societies in the world. The ways people are adopting now for using the social media, impacting negatively on the moral and ethical values. Despite having so many definite advantages, social media has several disadvantages along with the negative impacts on social, moral, ethical, and societal values.
Social media is increasing the dependency of children and teens on its usage and impacting on the social and moral values. The spending time of children on the social media is too much as in the United Kingdom nearly three-quarters of 12 to 15 years old children are having the social media profile and spend their most values time on social media. The studies showed these children spend an average of 19 hours on the social media platforms (Children And Parents: Media Use And Attitudes Report). The more time the children and teens spend on the usage of social media the more their personality traits will be influenced by its usage. A research study showed that the relationship between social media and narcissism is increasing and the platforms of social media are negatively impacting the decision making powers and empathy level of children and teens (“Is Social Media Messing with Children’s Morals?”).
Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues conducted a study and found that social media platforms are impacting on the moral and character development of the children. The research study showed that parent’s attitude towards the social media is negative and more than half chosen sample of parents showed that the social media is impacting negatively on the young people and their character. Not only is the character development influenced by the usage of social media but also the empathy level is decreasing due to the dependency on the social media sites of the children. The high rate of cyberbullying showed that more than 62 percent children age between 13 to 20 years are being reported who suffered from cyberbullying. Moreover, people are now becoming the ones who are different on social media and have different personality traits in real life. According to a study, “This can lead to “moral disengagement,” where people can act in an immoral way while still viewing themselves as a moral person. And it is this “disengagement” which is thought to encourage cyberbullying behaviors (“Is Social Media Messing with Children’s Morals?”).
A research study conducted by the University of Birmingham showed that parents are concerned towards the social media usage of their children, and they are considering the factors that it is impacting negatively to the moral development of their children. More than half parents from the study sample believe that social media platforms are hindering the development of children and develop negative traits in their behavior observed by their parents (Watson).
The parents now believe that many character strengths are now lacking in their children just due to the increased dependency rate of children on the social media websites. More than 20 percent parents believe that self-control and forgiveness factors are now lacking in their children, more than 20 percent parents believe that their children lack with honesty and more than 18 percent parents believe that humility factors are now lacking in their children due to the usage of social media websites. More than 50 percent parents believe that their children are now having negative traits such as hostility, anger, arrogance, ignorance, hatred, and bad judgment factors (“Social Media Sites Obstruct Children’s Moral Development, Say Parents”). It shows that the social media websites are developing the personalities of the children in a different negative way that their good personality traits are compromising and the bad personality traits are increasing such as lack of empathy, ignorance factors, hostility and most importantly the factors of hatred.
Due to the technological spread and the increased usage of smartphones, it is now effortless to use social media which is one among the important reasons for the social media spread among the children. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are some social media apps that are greatly popular among the children today. A research study conducted by Psych Central showed that the social media sites including Facebook and Instagram are not developing the moral development traits in the children but to hindering these trait developments in the children (“Social Media’s Effects on Moral Development in Youth – Asheville Academy”). Several examples could explain these points such as impacts of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a pattern in which everyone is allowed to use the right of free speech that leads to the bullying pattern.
People start bullying on the social media platforms when something is not related to their mind they start saying negative things about it. For example, when someone posted on the social media and some people are not agreed with that content, they may start to use negative words, and this could lead to a fight. The impacts of cyberbullying are even worse and result in different scenarios in which the children who faced cyberbullying gets the state of depression, tension, and mental pressures. The children who faced cyber-bullying starts to suffer from mental illnesses, and that could lead to the disastrous situations.
A study conducted in Canada revealed that the college’s students who are the consistent users of social media are not having any emotions regarding being honest and be helpful towards other people. They are more concerned about their appearances on social media and the elements of fun. It shows that the children and teens are more concerned towards the fact that how their appearance could be shown on the social media sites and they use social media for fun. But these traits and elements lead to the fact that their honesty level, moral values, honesty, and empathy are compromised (Johnson). “It’s important to point out that it could be a lot of things, like morally shallow people might be more drawn to a higher rate of social media use,” Anisette said. “But the magnitude of these relationships (between social media use and shallowing) surprised me —it affected everyone in some way, all sorts of people with all sorts of values” (Johnson).
It shows that the online relationships are the ones that also impact on the minds of children. The moral development is a factor that develops with the different levels of experimentation but social media many time become a hindrance towards the real-life social explorations of the children. Many experts are now suggesting that the social media platform such as Instagram that heavily dependent on visual representation and photos, can influence the mind of children especially their considerations between right and wrong acts. Photo sharing on social media has more influence on children rather than the wordings. When a photo collects different opinions from other people, it leads to the confirmation of all these comments in the mind of the child who posted it. Such as, when a teen has been told by parents that drinking is not a good habit and dangerous as well, but when he checks his social media platform he checked the photos of numerous teens who posted their photos while drinking. Surely it will impact negatively on the mind of that teen.
Despite having so many positive advantages, social media has several disadvantages along with the negative impacts on social, moral, ethical, and societal values. Children and teens that are dependent towards the usage of social media websites tend to have different behaviors, different moral and ethical values, and different form of personality developments. Most parents believe that their children are developing the traits which are not linked to their moral development and their children lack the traits that improve their moral and ethical development. The teens and children, who are the consistent users of social media, developing the traits of hatred, ignorance, arrogance, selfishness, and dishonesty, while the traits that should be a part of their personalities such as honesty, sincerity, loyalty, help, and support other people are now lacking in the children. These scenarios and situations are relevant and should be addressed so that the children could learn about the important morality traits in their lives. These traits are necessary to make the children ethical and responsible citizens of any country or any society.
“Is Social Media Messing With Children’s Morals?.” The Conversation. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.
“Social Media Sites Obstruct Children’s Moral Development, Say Parents.” Birmingham.ac.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.
“Social Media’S Effects On Moral Development In Youth – Asheville Academy.” Asheville Academy. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.
Children And Parents: Media Use And Attitudes Report. 2015. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.
Johnson, Chandra. “How Social Media Can Make Us Question Our Moral Values.” DeseretNews.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.
Watson, Kara. “Does Social Media Affect Moral Development? | Redbrick.” Redbrick. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2018.